I’d be lying if I said I wear every bit of armor I own every time I hop on a motorcycle. While that’s not to say I run out the door wearing shorts, t-shirt and a helmet, when it comes to riding pants, for my daily commute more often than not I’m skipping the leather and opting for a set of jeans instead. But not just some average pair of Levis – recently I’ve been sporting the Dainese D6 Denim jeans. Here’s what I think about them.
Like any riding jean worth its salt, the D6 denim is lined top to bottom in kevlar fabric for optimum abrasion resistance in a fall. There’s extra amounts of the stuff in the knee area, as that’s a major impact zone. However, one of the downsides is, despite the extra kevlar in the knees, no pockets exist for any sort of armor to be placed for impact protection. For a $179.95 pair of riding jeans, this is very peculiar.
From a fit perspective, the pant runs a bit long. For reference, my inseam is a measly 30 inches, but the shortest the D6 comes in is a 34-inch inseam. Initially I thought it quite strange Dainese would provide so much extra material, but after speaking with a D-representative I got a clearer picture.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably think these were your average pair of jeans.
Sure, hemming is an option, but apart from trying to appease a wide range of body types and rider heights, the long legs also take into account the coverage the rider’s ankle and lower calf lose when normal pants ride up in the sitting position.
The bottom of each D6 pant leg comes cuffed, and each cuff reveals a reflective Dainese logo on the rear. Apart from the cuffs, another reflective stripe is placed just below the belt line, for better night time visibility. Other than those stripes, however, it’s up to the rest of your riding gear to attract the attention of other motorists at night.
Donning the D6 jeans, the dark denim is already fairly weighty, but add in the kevlar weaving and the pants are fairly thick for a pair of jeans. Considering its purpose, that’s what I expect from a pair of riding jeans. That’s not to say the jeans are heavy, as the difference between the D6 and my normal pair of “everyday” denim is marginal at best. However, the trade off for this thick material is less-than-optimal ventilation – a particular setback during hot rides. Naked bike riders will have better luck with airflow, but I’ve lately been riding sport-adventure-touring bikes, like the Aprilia Caponord, and the increased wind protection has meant my thighs have gotten toasty in our current SoCal hot spell.
Turned inside out, you can see both knees get an extra dose of kevlar to help protect against abrasion, but the lack of hard armor gets a demerit point in impact protection.
Otherwise, the dark denim wash and straight-leg fit look fashionable and easily glides over your typical riding boot. Unlike some other riding denim, there are no obvious giveaways that the D6 is not your average pair of jeans. The long inseam does look a bit goofy off the bike, but I don’t really consider myself fashion forward so I don’t really care. Equipped with five pockets, like normal denim, the two rear pockets are especially deep – perhaps to keep items like wallets in place should you forget to secure them in zippered jacket pockets before riding. Not that I’ve ever done such a thing…
For my short 30-inch inseam, the four extra inches of length on the D6 simply looks entirely too long off the bike.
I haven’t taken a fall in the pants, so I can’t comment on its crashworthiness, however, overall, the Dainese D6 denim riding jean is a solid choice for anyone looking at commuter jeans. The lack of any hard armor – or the possibility to insert some – is a knock against it, and some might say, in the highly competitive denim riding jean category, the $179.95 price tag is a bit steep. Then again, premium brands have always demanded a premium price. Ultimately, its worth is up to you.
However, the extra inseam length is nice to have while riding, as it provides extra coverage to areas normally exposed as pants ride up.
Available in waist sizes 28-44, learn more about the D6 denim jeans at Dainese’s website.
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